At 48 years of public protection, Jim Judge has spent the past 7 1/2 years as the calm, balanced, and comforting presence of Volusia County in times of need and danger.
Whether it was a hurricane, a tornado, a flood or, more recently, a coronavirus pandemic, the public could always count on Judge to have clear conversations, clear information, an effective crisis response, and lifesaving Provides messages about how to be safe in an emergency.
Just a few days before his resignation on January 22nd from his post as Emergency Director of the Volusia County, the judge received a warm farewell at the district council meeting on January 19 during a recognition ceremony in his honor.
Among his numerous accomplishments, Judge helped lead Volusia County towards its first full accreditation through the national emergency management accreditation program. He was among the first group to receive Florida Professional Emergency Manager certification in 1999 and was inducted into the Florida EMS Hall of Fame for a lifetime in emergency medical services.
But Volusia County is best remembered for being the face of emergency management, helping guide the county and its residents through numerous hurricanes and severe weather events, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and other potential disasters.
“I appreciate every second you put in and you put in more than most,” District Manager George Recktenwald told Judge before addressing others in the chamber. “Not only did he do a spectacular job here, he also put us on the map nationwide and nationally.”
The judge’s immediate superior, Director of Public Protection, Joe Pozzo, echoed the district chief’s awards heartily.
“When George says he’s the best, he really is,” said Pozzo. “It will be difficult to replace.”
It was also the turn of the county council to honor the judge, calling him an accomplished professional and a man of great integrity and credibility who always did his job with confidence, a calm demeanor, and a smile.
After hearing all of the glowing comments, the normally talkative judge was brief.
ROUSING APPLAUSE – – The Volusia County Council, staff and spectators applauded retired Emergency Management Director Jim Judge during the county council meeting on January 19, days before his last day at work.
“It is a great honor to be with you this morning,” the judge told the council.
A seasoned ambulance, fire and emergency management professional, Judge served as Executive Director of Lake-Sumter EMS and then Lake County EMS before being hired as Volusia County Emergency Management Director in June 2013.
The judge also served in numerous other positions across the state. He has received numerous local, state and national awards for outstanding administrative and operational performance in the field of public safety.
In his retirement, Judge plans to enjoy family time and pursue his main hobbies – traveling, camping, boating, and golfing.